Banish Bloating with Yoga Practice
Five Yoga poses that can help banish bloating and help return to your balance point.
As you go about the session remember that the exhale breath is critical to breaking blockages for internal cleansing. Inhale for a count of four and exhale to a count of eight while practicing these postures.
Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose)
Before performing the pose, determine two things about your support:
- height and
- distance from the wall.
If you’re stiffer, the support should be lower and placed farther from the wall; if you’re more flexible, use a higher support that is closer to the wall. Your distance from the wall also depends on your height: if you’re shorter move closer to the wall, if taller move farther from the wall. Experiment with the position of your support until you find the placement that works for you.
- Start with your support about 5 to 6 inches away from the wall. Sit sideways on right end of the support, with your right side against the wall (left-handers can substitute “left” for “right” in these instructions).
- Exhale and, with one smooth movement, swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head lightly down onto the floor. Your sitting bones don’t need to be right against the wall, but they should be “dripping” down into the space between the support and the wall.
- Check that the front of your torso gently arches from the pubis to the top of the shoulders. If the front of your torso seems flat, then you’ve probably slipped a bit off the support.
- Bend your knees, press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis off the support a few inches, tuck the support a little higher up under your pelvis, then lower your pelvis onto the support again.
- Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat. Don’t push your chin against your sternum; instead let your sternum lift toward the chin. Take a small roll (made from a towel for example) under your neck if the cervical spine feels flat.
- Open your shoulder blades away from the spine and release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up. Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place.
- Release the heads of the thigh bones and the weight of your belly deeply into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis. Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart.
- Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
- Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side. You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to the floor, and turn to the side.
- Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting with an exhalation.
Supta Virasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) :
- To fight bloating with yoga start by performing Baddha Konasana. Exhale and lower your back torso toward the floor, first leaning on your hands. Once you are leaning back on your forearms, use your hands to spread the back of your pelvis and release your lower back and upper buttocks through your tailbone.
- Bring your torso all the way to the floor, supporting your head and neck on a blanket roll or bolster if needed. With your hands grip your topmost thighs and rotate your inner thighs externally, pressing your outer thighs away from the sides of your torso. Next slide your hands along your outer thighs from the hips toward the knees and widen your outer knees away from your hips.
- Then slide your hands down along your inner thighs, from the knees to the groins. Imagine that your inner groins are sinking into your pelvis. Push your hip points together, so that while the back pelvis widens, the front pelvis narrows.
- Lay your arms on the floor, angled at about 45 degrees from the sides of your torso, palms up. The natural tendency in this pose is to push the knees toward the floor in the belief that this will increase the stretch of the inner thighs and groins. But especially if your groins are tight, pushing the knees down will have just the opposite of the intended effect: The groins will harden, as will your belly and lower back.
- Instead, imagine that your knees are floating up toward the ceiling and continue settling your groins deep into your pelvis. As your groins drop toward the floor, so will your knees.
- To start, stay in this pose for one minute. Gradually extend your stay anywhere from five to 10 minutes. To come out, use your hands to press your thighs together, then roll over onto one side and push yourself away from the floor, head trailing the torso.
Apanasana (Knees to Chest Pose)
This classic posture helps digestion and elimination and limbers the lower back.
- Starting in the lying rest position, take the feet off the floor and bring the thighs to a vertical position.
- Place the hands on the knees and without taking your head off the floor, exhale, while bringing the knees towards the torso.
- Try to let the abdominal muscles do most of the work, letting the hands help a little toward the end of the movement.On the inhalation, allow the knees to move away to the starting position, while bringing the arms overhead to the floor behind you.
- Repeat slowly 6 times, being sure to breath out as the knees come towards the body and breath in when they move away.
Advasana (Prone Pose):
- To enter prone pose, rest on the stomach with the forehead resting on the mat. The legs extend straight and the arms extend forward alongside the ears, palms down.
- A blanket may be used to ease any minor discomforts during the pose. A blanket under the forehead or just below the chest may help breathing. A blanket below the knees can take pressure off the knees.
Balasana (Child’s Pose):
- Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs.
- Broaden your sacrum across the back of your pelvis and narrow your hip points toward the navel, so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.
- Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor. Feel how the weight of the front shoulders pulls the shoulder blades wide across your back.
- Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Beginners can also use Balasana to get a taste of a deep forward bend, where the torso rests on the thighs. Stay in the pose from 1 to 3 minutes.
- To come up, first lengthen the front torso, and then with an inhalation lift from the tailbone as it presses down and into the pelvis.
While bloating is temporary and can be helped by simple nutritional or yogic practices, if it persists, contact your healthcare professional.
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